The Better Business Bureau Offers Tips on Prepping for Emergencies

October 16, 2012

Chicago, IL – September 26, 2012 –With National Preparedness Month underway this is a prime opportunity to review your family’s emergency plan. Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared and may make all the difference in a crisis. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) urges families to devise and discuss their disaster plan.

Safety is paramount in an emergency, and knowing what to do when- stay or go- can differ depending upon the disaster. There are important differences among potential types of emergencies that should influence the decisions you make and the actions you take.

“When your safety is in question it is extremely important to have a plan,” said Steve J. Bernas, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “The website of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), is an extremely useful tool which lists different emergencies that could happen in your community and helps identify the best possible responses.

Two things every family needs regardless of the disaster are an emergency plan and an emergency kit.

For an emergency plan, make sure all family members know where to meet and who to contact in case you get separated. A relative or friend in another area is an ideal emergency contact person. Make sure everyone in the family knows how to send and receive text messages. Consider downloading smart phone apps that provide emergency information.

The BBB recommends the following items for an emergency kit:

  • A gallon of water per person per day for three days
  • A three-day supply of nonperishable food for each family member
  • A flashlight with extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • A whistle to signal for help
  • Dust masks
  • A wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • A power inverter or solar charger for your cell phone

You may consider including prescriptions (at the very least a list of prescriptions), infant formula and diapers, pet food and cash. Place copies of important family documents (insurance policies, identification and financial records) in a waterproof, portable container near your escape route. Pencil and paper, paper cups and plates, and plastic utensils are also useful. If you have kids, pack some games, books or puzzles. Maintaining your kit is also important. You will want to replace stored water and food about every six months. Mark the date on containers or cans.

For more information you can trust, visit


As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reviews on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.